US: DeVos Sued Amid New Evidence About Whether Her Agency Aided For-Profit Operator - - PressFrom - US
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US DeVos Sued Amid New Evidence About Whether Her Agency Aided For-Profit Operator

04:00  24 october  2019
04:00  24 october  2019 Source:   usnews.com

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The subpoena threat comes amid new information about whether the Education Department allowed an operator of for - profit colleges to mislead Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos could be forced to hand over documents to House Democrats as part of an investigation into two for - profit colleges.

In June, the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos , announced plans to dismantle a set of Obama-era policies devised to protect students and taxpayers from predatory for - profit colleges. Yet data released in the final days of the previous administration shows that the existing rules have proved more

Two student advocacy groups have filed separate lawsuits against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, one alleging her Department of Education allowed an operator of for-profit schools to mislead students and sack them with debt they are now unable to repay, and another that accused her of continuing to refuse to discharge the student loan debt of borrowers previously enrolled in for-profit schools that abruptly shuttered.

Betsy DeVos wearing glasses and looking at the camera: WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16 : Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens as President Donald J. Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Thursday, Aug 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 16 : Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens as President Donald J. Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Thursday, Aug 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The lawsuits were filed Tuesday, the same day House Democrats threatened to subpoena DeVos for obstructing their investigation into the department's role in allowing the operator of for-profit colleges to mislead students and continue operating the schools despite losing their accreditation.

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos , in her most drastic move to deregulate for - profit colleges The Obama-era rule would have revoked federal funding and access to financial aid for poor-performing schools. Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve

The DeVos approach would undo nearly a decade of efforts to create a tough accountability system for the largely For - profit school leaders have praised the delays, as they have argued the An analysis of the programs, conducted by New America, shows that hundreds of programs that failed the federal

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by National Student Legal Defense Network is directly related to the subpoena issued by House Democrats. It alleges that the Education Department's actions "caused students at the schools to borrow money and waste months of their lives in pursuit of an education they did not know was unaccredited."

At issue is the department's handling of Dream Center Education Holdings, which bought about 100 for-profit schools from Education Management Corporation in 2017, just months before two of the schools lost full accreditation in January 2018.

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Advocates for student borrowers said that savings was nothing to cheer. The new rules would establish insurmountable barriers to relief for many vulnerable “With the stroke of a pen, Secretary DeVos and her team of former for - profit college executives have proposed giving fraudulent institutions de facto

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The accreditor asked Dream Center to notify thousands of students that, as a result of the change in accreditation, it was possible that their credits wouldn't transfer to other colleges and may not be recognized by future employers. But according to documents released by Rep. Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia, Dream Center continued operating the schools and enrolled new students while misrepresenting their accreditation, allowing it to bank millions in federal financial aid dollars. Scott said the documents also show that high-ranking Education Department officials allowed Dream Center to do so.

Scott is also looking into the Education Department's involvement in a dubious maneuver to convey non-profit status on the schools to facilitate their continued ability to receive federal funds as they sought to restore their accreditation.

As a result, the Defense Network lawsuit argues, the plaintiffs "have incurred debt from the Department that currently requires, or imminently and certainly will require, monthly payments to be made to pay off that debt."

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Say this for Betsy DeVos : The secretary of education has shown an impressive commitment to The rules also require for - profit programs to make clear in their promotional materials whether or not Dozens of additional programs have shut their doors of late rather than attempt to meet the new

As President Donald Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos has worked to subvert public education. She has promoted the privatization of public schools through vouchers, called for deep cuts to federal funding, rolled back protections for vulnerable children, and shilled for the for - profit college

"The Department's actions of allowing the schools to participate in the [federal student loan] programs and allowing students to take out loans that they were not eligible for, and then retroactively converting the schools to temporary non-profit status to create the fiction that they were eligible to participate in [the federal student loan program] were unlawful, arbitrary and capricious," the lawsuit reads.

The organization already represents several groups of students affected by the collapse of Dream Center and its affiliated schools, including students who were enrolled in schools that concealed the fact that they had lost accreditation, students whose federal student aid living stipends were never disbursed and those whose records were destroyed, rendering them unable to transfer their credits.

The Project on Predatory Student Lending, part of the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School, also filed a lawsuit Tuesday against DeVos on behalf of approximately 7,200 former students enrolled in now-defunct for-profit schools in Massachusetts operated by Corinthian Colleges, demanding department officials cancel their student loans.

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For - profit colleges are winning their battle to dismantle Obama-era restrictions as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos rolls back regulations, grants reprieves to schools at risk of losing their federal funding and stocks her agency with industry insiders.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced plans to "reset" two regulations that were recently For - profit colleges are at risk of losing their federal aid should a typical graduate’s annual loan The for - profit operator had been subject to a number of inquiries in recent years, including a federal

DeVos has come under fire for refusing to discharge the student loan debt and process the claims of borrowers who qualified or applied for loan forgiveness under the previous administration's borrower defense protection on the basis that their schools engaged in deceptive or illegal practices.

The secretary stopped processing those claims in 2017, when she paused the Obama-era borrower defense regulation to rewrite it, arguing that it was too lenient and allowed practically anyone dissatisfied with their education to apply to have their debt forgiven.

Last year, a federal judge ordered DeVos to cease all collections on federal student loans used to attend schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, given they would be eligible for discharge under the borrower defense rule. But the department continued collecting on defaulted borrowers in violation of the court order.

"Everest promised me that they were the place to achieve my goal of bettering myself and helping other people by becoming a medical assistant," Diana Vara, the named plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement. "But it turned out everything they told us was a lie. We got cheated and are now struggling to repay tens of thousands of dollars of debt for a worthless degree."

Vara says the department is still collecting on her debt by garnishing her wages and tax refunds.

"My life only got harder after Everest," she said. "The only upside is the strength of the other students I went to school with and that's why I'm standing up with them for what's right."

The lawsuit, Vara v. DeVos, was filed in federal court in Boston.

"The evidence of abuse is indisputable," Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, said in a statement. "The only possible action to take is complete loan cancellation for all former Corinthian students of Massachusetts."

More than 150,000 borrower defense claims are currently pending, many of them from students who attended programs operated by now defunct for-profit chains, like Corinthian and ITT Tech.

Copyright 2019 U.S. News & World Report

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